The need to open more access to digital literacy for girls so that they can compete favorably with their male counterparts has been emphasized.

Empower Her 4 Africa, a gender-based not-for-profit organization, brought this to the fore Monday on the occasion of the 2021 International Day of the Girl Child.

Speaking with journalists at the event, founder and Executive Director of Empower Her 4 Africa, Mrs. Charlene Makai Yusuf, asserted that there’s no limit to the possibility of what girls can do with technology if given equal access like their male counterparts.

Mrs. Yusuf said, “It is important to bridge the digital gender gap so that our girls can live their full potentials and be part of the unfolding new world order of digital compliance.

Also speaking, Consultant on girl child rights to Empower Her 4 Africa, Mrs. Abosede Oladayo, decried the poor rate of enrollment of girls in tech-related courses such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, STEM.

As part of activities lined up to commemorate the day, the NGO staged a road walk procession in the city of Abuja to sensitize Nigerians and create awareness on the need to bridge the gender digital divide between boys and girls as well as the importance of digital literacy and skills in tech-related courses for the girl child.

The group also organized a digital Training session for girls at Govt Junior secondary school Damagasa in Lokogoma Abuja.

Empower Her 4 Africa in its usual practice, equally enrolled and paid school fees for ten adopted indigent girls at the school.

Recall that October 11 of every year is designated as the International Day of the Girl Child by the United Nations, UN, to bring to fore issues and challenges faced by the girl child, that hinders her well-being and a better quality of life and how to proffer solutions to them.

This year’s theme: “Digital Generation. Our Generation.” emphasizes the imperativeness of digital literacy and inclusivity for the Girl Child.

According to experts, the Covid-19 pandemic has migrated the world from physical engagement to a virtual platform.

The pandemic has also transformed the world into a digital village as school learnings,  business earnings, and social connecting are now being done via digital platforms.

This has also transformed the future of work as existing jobs are being modified, and new ones are emerging at the frontiers of our economies, which require knowledge and skills in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM).

But over 2.2 billion people below the age of 25 (mostly girls) still do not have access to the internet at home, meaning girls are most likely to be cut off.

Also, the gender gap for global internet users grew from 11 percent in 2013 to 17 percent in 2019 while in the world’s least developed countries, it hovers around 43 percent.

The implication of this is that girls are also less likely than boys to use and own devices, and gain access to tech-related skills and jobs.

Experts believe addressing the inequity and exclusion that spans geographies and generations is vital as we seek to usher in a digital revolution for all, and with all.

Empower Her 4 Africa, therefore, called on government and relevant authorities to increase access to digital education and devices for girls, while also demanding that all schools be equipped with functional state-of-the-art digital laboratories to boost access to digital literacy for girls.

 


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